For us, a visit to the Thugunui waterworks was of course essential during our stay here in the Rift Valley. We picked a reasonably weather-proof day to drive up to Thugunui with Ruth. In the rain, it would be impossible to get up there at all – just in good weather conditions, the winding mountain road, peppered with potholes and deep gullies, is a real challenge!


This water station at nearly 3000 m above sea level was projected in 2006 under the leadership of Ruth Schäfer and was completed in November 2007. The groundwater is pumped up from a depth of 205 m through a borehole. The waterworks house above houses the diesel pump, as well as the water consumption meter, a small office for the waterworks foreman, and his quarters. The tap for dispensing is located outside and easily accessible. The waterworks is framed by a neat little garden (ordered by the waterworks master) and the whole property is strikingly similar in character to the Rhine Valley Hospital; how could it be otherwise!

The station ensures drinking water for the mountain population of the surrounding area. Each family is registered with all family members (with all three names of each person), with the ID number of the identity card and with the place of residence. Each person is entitled to 20 liters of water per day free of charge upon presentation of the registration tag, and one family member may also fetch the water for the others. The head of the waterworks, Gideon, explained this handling to us in detail and explained his precise bookkeeping. As we have already seen in the hospital with the medicine supply, serious double-entry bookkeeping is also kept here about the water consumption at the meter and the water delivery to the population recorded in writing. Even small children come to fetch water for their families and they carry water canisters weighing over 20 kilos for several kilometers back home, and this in mountainous areas. Once again we are very impressed by a fact which would be unthinkable in our homeland!

The same procedure of water supply is also active in the RVH hospital in Kasambara, about 700 m downstream, since the opening of the hospital in 2004. Here, the security officer at the gate keeps records of the water dispensed.

The mountain people are very grateful for this great relief in the water supply – this is also shown by the fact that all the people we met on our adventurous journey waved joyfully and shouted “Jambo Mama Matata” to Ruth.

Nakuru, September 2012, Gabi Senn and Claudia Callegher

Gabi Senn and Claudia Callegher as Volontaires at the RVH: Claudia Callegher is completing a two-week internship at the RVH in connection with her educational leave in her teaching profession. Her sister Gabi Senn accompanies her, having already visited the RVH in 2007 and 2008.